Headlines for Wednesday, November 28, 2012

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2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW

Kia beefs up Forte sedan for 2014

4:30 pm U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
Kia is beefing up the Forte compact sedan and loading it with upscale features for 2014. The redesigned Forte -- introduced today at the Los Angeles Auto Show -- sits lower, longer and wider than the 2013 version and rides on a new platform.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Satisfied with Lexus, Mini

12:01 am U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
Buyers more pleased - but checking dealer reviews; battle-ready RAV4?; upscale Chrysler minivan; GM's Reuss talks green.

Ram launches commercial truck unit, plans to add Fiat-based large van

3:16 pm U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
Ram has formed a commercial truck division and confirmed plans today to introduce a large van based on the Fiat Ducato in the third quarter of 2013. The 2014 Ram ProMaster will be redesigned and tailored for North American commercial truck and van users, Chrysler Group said.

Mini to begin production at former Mitsubishi plant in second half of 2014

Nov. 28, 2012 21:26 CET
Production of new Mini models at a former Mitsubishi plant in the Netherlands will begin in the second half of 2014, a senior company executive said. Harald Krueger said that the company will decide in the coming months which models it will source from the former NedCar plant in Born, Netherlands.

VIDEO: First Shift: A magnet for millennials

12:01 am U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
Toyota among automakers using online videos to lure young buyers; teens and texting; plus, test track for Porsche customers.

2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW

Fiat bets on 500e to challenge Nissan's Leaf

9:34 am U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is no champion of electric vehicles. But if he must produce one to appease California regulators, he won't mess with an Italian icon. After returning to the U.S.

2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW

Toyota RAV4 slimmed down, simplified for 2013 makeover

12:30 pm U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
The Toyota RAV4, the first compact crossover to arrive in the United States, is getting slimmed down and simplified for the 2013 model year as the automaker strives to gain more ground in a booming segment. After its debut in 1996, the RAV4 quickly established itself as a strong seller.

U.S. says A123 sale requires its consent

10:28 pm U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
The U.S. government said bankrupt A123 Systems Inc. cannot be sold without its consent because the battery maker received a $249 million grant from the Energy Department, according to court documents.

Detroit unnerved by looming fiscal cliff

2:04 pm U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
Ford is making contingency plans, including possible production cuts, should the nation's economy falter if President Barack Obama and Congress go over the fiscal cliff during budget deficit and tax talks.

2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW

'One Ford' strategy to remain top focus, Fields says

9:40 pm U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
Ford has spent the last six years developing a global product strategy under CEO Alan Mulally. Building on the plan is Mark Fields' top priority when he starts running the automaker's global operations next month.

2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW

Hyundai to continue fuel economy pitch despite inflated mpg claims

9:01 pm U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
Fuel efficiency and mpg ratings will continue to be a focal point of Hyundai marketing, even as its trust with many U.S. buyers has been dented after the company exaggerated fuel economy figures on many models, the company's top U.S. chief said Wednesday.

2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW

Lentz: Toyota to push hybrids, hydrogen over EVs

3:41 pm U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
Toyota will introduce 21 new or redesigned hybrid vehicles worldwide by the end of 2015 while limiting investment in electric cars, the company's U.S. chief said. Speaking at the Los Angeles Auto Show today, Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., said hybrids currently account for 3.

Ford to upgrade, extend warranty on MyFord touch-screen system

4:20 pm U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
Ford will upgrade and extend the warranty by two years on its MyFord Touch system following a series of consumer complaints and poor reviews of the automaker's touch-screen entertainment and navigation system.

2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW

Acura to offer four-wheel steering on RLX flagship

5:58 pm U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
Acura's redesigned RLX flagship sedan will come with an advanced four-wheel steering system and an optional hybrid powertrain when it arrives in early 2013. The 2014 RLX will replace the RL, which is phasing out as a 2012 model.

LUCA CIFERRI

The not so prophetic story of the Fiat 500L

12:01 am U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
The Fiat 500L small minivan, which has its North American debut today at the Los Angeles auto show, is built in Serbia in a factory that once produced Yugo cars. Unusually for a car-manufacturing nation, only 1 percent of the production will be sold at home.

MIKE COLIAS

Next-gen Impala's sticker shows GM means business

4:07 pm U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
It's hard to think of a recent vehicle that took a bigger leap to the next generation than the upcoming Chevrolet Impala. The 2014 Impala is sleek and sculpted, its plush interior loaded with technology.

Mini to begin production at former Mitsubishi plant in second half of 2014

3:26 pm U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
Production of new Mini models at a former Mitsubishi plant in the Netherlands will begin in the second half of 2014, a senior company executive said.

2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW

New Porsche Cayman two-seater is lighter and larger

2:30 pm U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
The renewal of Porsche's sportscar lineup continues with the unveiling today of a larger and lighter second-generation Cayman here at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Lexus, Mini are tops in sales satisfaction again, Power survey shows

1:00 pm U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
Consumers are increasingly satisfied with the auto-buying experience, with Lexus repeating as the top-rated luxury brand and Mini again pacing mass-market brands in the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Sales Satisfaction Index Study released today.

2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW

Fiat expands lineup with 500 wagon, convertible, EV

12:50 pm U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
Chrysler Group is showing three new North American versions of the Fiat 500 at the Los Angeles Auto Show today, including a plug-in electric and a four-door wagon.

2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW

Hyundai's Veloster-based C3 concept combines a convertible with a utility

12:30 pm U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
Hyundai revealed a Veloster-based concept that is part convertible, part mini-ute today at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Fiat bets on Italian elegance to challenge Nissan's Leaf

Nov. 28, 2012 06:34 CET
Fiat Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne is no champion of electric vehicles. So even if he must produce one to appease California regulators, he won't mess with an Italian icon.

Q&A

Exploiting mistrust of big banks to win loans

12:01 am U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
Credit Union Direct Lending, better known as CUDL, is attracting more dealerships to list their inventory on its AutoSMART shopping Web site. The site, cudlautosmart.com, enables car shoppers to browse the dealership listings and then apply for a pre-approved loan through a credit union.

Ford's small-car stumbling block: Young, credit-strapped buyers

12:01 am U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
Ford says getting young buyers financed is a potential impediment to its ongoing small-car strategy, including the launch next year of the face-lifted 2014 Ford Fiesta with an all-new three-cylinder variant.

Auto-loan amounts reach 6-year high

12:01 am U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
Auto loans recovered from the latest recession faster than any other type of consumer credit, according to credit bureau Equifax. The good news for dealerships is that the average amount per auto loan has grown along with the increase in unit volume, Equifax data show.

LEGAL FILE

Ex-Mitsubishi dealer plans to fight inclusion in suit charging loan discrimination

12:01 am U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
A pretrial conference is scheduled Dec. 17 in a Justice Department discrimination suit accusing a Los Angeles Mitsubishi dealership, now closed, of illegally giving less favorable loan terms to non-Asian borrowers. Earlier this year, the Ninth U.S.

JIM HENRY

5 signs of robust F&I

12:01 am U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
Here are five signs that dealership F&I profits will stay strong:

LUCA CIFERRI

The not so prophetic story of the Fiat 500L

12:01 am U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
The Fiat 500L small minivan, which has its North American debut today at the Los Angeles auto show, is built in Serbia in a factory that once produced Yugo cars. Unusually for a car-manufacturing nation, only 1 percent of the production will be sold at home.

GM's Chinese joint venture to build $1 billion plant in Chongqing

9:24 am U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
General Motors and its Chinese joint-venture partners said today they plan to build a $1 billion auto assembly plant in the city of Chongqing as part of its push to remain the leader in the world's largest auto market.

BMW's EV boss says i3 is no 'niche' model

Nov. 28, 2012 11:07 CET
BMW unveiled the i3 coupe concept, another variant of its i electric car subbrand, at the Los Angeles auto show today.

Ally selling Europe, Latin America operations to GM

8:54 am U.S. ET | Nov. 28, 2012
Ally Financial is selling its Europe and Latin America operations to GM Financial, a unit of General Motors, for about $4.2 billion. The combined operations in Europe and Latin America represented about $16.1 billion in assets at the end of the third quarter, Ally said in a statement last week.

2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW

BMW expands i-brand lineup with 3-door concept

Nov. 28, 2012 06:01 CET
BMW has provided the clearest hint yet that its lineup of i-brand electric vehicles will expand beyond the three models already confirmed for production with the unveiling of a three-door version of the i3 at the Los Angeles auto show.

Chevrolet aims to keep defying Europe's sales slump

Nov. 28, 2012 06:01 CET
Chevrolet Europe Managing Director Susan Docherty has the task of maintaining the brand's growth in a slumping market. In the first 10 months, Chevrolet's European sales grew 1.9 percent to 150,402, according to industry association ACEA. Docherty took over the top job at Chevrolet Europe on Jan.

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